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World / North America / Mexico / Cancun and its surroundings, Mexico

Cancun and its surroundings, Mexico

Cancun is one of the most famous resorts towns in Mexico visited by almost seven million tourists every year. Half a million of local residents are involved in tourism industry and work hard to provide guests with high quality recreational experience.


Meanwhile, in 1970, less than half a century ago, only three people lived here, and the only activity they did was looking after a coconut plantation. Total population of the area was only 120 people, including residents of neighboring fishing villages. However, excellent geographical location and climate prompted a resort. But at the time there were no investors who believed that a coconut farm could be turned into an upscale vacation spot, and the first nine Cancun hotels were financed by the Mexican government.

Cancun is located on the sandy shore reminiscent of number "7", measuring 400 meters in width and 30 kilometers in length. The quality of Cancun's snow-white beaches is so high that not so long ago a wealthy American businessman purchased several barges of local sand for his country residence in New York.

Cancun from above

"Seven" divides this resort town in two parts. The smaller part is characterized by a calm sea, because it's cut off from the ocean by Isla Mujeres (Spanish for Island of Women). And the main attraction of the longer stretch of the shore is constant unstoppable waves coming from the open ocean.

Isla Mujeres

Cancun waters attract not only surfers, but also scuba divers: the water here is very clear, visibility in some places is 100 meters. Palancar Reef stretches along the coast, which is one of the biggest coral reefs in the world. Also there is a famous Pit Cenote can be found. The representatives of the ancient Maya civilization definitely had the knowledge of how to enter the kingdom of the Dead: according to their mythology, every time when a part of a limestone cave hiding the groundwaters collapsed, the gates to the other world appeared. This hole filled with water is named "cenote".

Pit Cenote

But beaches and diving are not the only attraction of Cancun. This location is historically connected with mysterious Mayan civilization: not far from here you can see ancient stone walls surrounding Tulum city, and other monuments of that era. Also there is a very beatiful national park - Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve.

Sian Kaan reserve

several national parks around Cancun Cozumel Island is another amazing place near Cancun: besides its natural and historical attractions, the island is also famous for its underwater beauty that appeared many times in films of famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. In 2010 a unique underwater museum was opened in the resort (or rather, in its waters): hundreds of different sculptures were flooded as a base for the future coral reef, and as a museum that can be visited by tourists. 

Another popular place around Cancun is Las Coloradas where the beautiful lakes can be found. The water is pink there. The Pink lagoon is simply man-made salt lakes but the colors are amazing.

Las Coloradas

Although some of these sights can't be found in our panoramas, we felt that without this information you wouldn't get the overall impression of Cancun, because this Mexican resort location is way more than just a long shoreline of white sand with a bunch of hotels. It's an ancient land with rich history and carefully preserved nature that wasn't spoiled by tourism industry, but on the contrary, revealed its uniqueness because of it.

Photo by Stas Sedov and Dmitry Moiseenko 

13 May 2022

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